Newport Jazz Festival

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Newport Jazz Festival, Festival Field July 3, 1969  Sun Ra and Space Arkestra  Bill Evans/Jeremy Steig George Benson        
Newport Jazz Festival, Festival Field July 4, 1969 Jeff Beck Group Ten Years After Jethro Tull        Recorded
Newport Jazz Festival, Festival Field July 5, 1969    Frank Zappa & The Mothers Of Invention John Mayall Miles Davis Quintet       Recorded
Newport Jazz Festival, Festival Field July 5, 1969 Sly & The Family Stone O.C. Smith Dave Brubeck        
Newport Jazz Festival, Festival Field July 6, 1969 James Brown  Nipsey Russell          
Newport Jazz Festival, Festival Field July 6, 1969 Led Zeppelin Johnny Winter B.B.King  YES YES   Set List




Newport Jazz Lineup 1969 


George Benson 

Sunny Murray 

Phil Woods 

Kenny Burrell 

Young-Holt Unlimited 

Anita O'Day 

Freddie Hubbard 

Bill Evans/Jeremy Steig 

Sun Ra and Space Arkestra 

The Joshua Light Show 


Jam Session - Ray Nance, Howard McGhee, Benny Green, Buddy Tata, Stan Stewart, Jimmy Owens, Paul Jeffrey, Eddie Jefferson, Brew Moore, Cecil Payne, Kenny Durham 

Steve Marcus 

Jethro Tull 

Ten Years After 

Blood Sweat and Tears 

Roland Kirk 

Jeff Beck 

The Joshua Light Show 


Newport All Stars with Mavis Rivers 

Miles Davis 

John Mayall 

Gary Burton 

Mothers of Invention 

Art Blakey 

Savage Rose 

Dave Brubeck Trio Featuring Gerry Mulligan 

World's Greatest Jazz Band with Maxine Sullivan and Stephanie Grapelli 

O.C. Smith

Sly and the Family Stone 

The Joshua Light Show 


James Brown and Nipsy Russell

Ilinois State Band 

Willie Bobo 

B.B. King 

Johnny Winter 

Herbie Hancock 

Buddy Rich Orchestra 

Led Zeppelin 

The Joshua Light Show


Program and festival lineup courtesy of


Ticket stub courtesy of Peter Nolan Smith



*Note: if you were there and would like to share your memories, pictures or tape please send it


Posted by Peter Nolan Smith

On July 6, 1969 my older brother and I drove from the South Shore to Newport to see the Sunday show of George Wein's Jazz Festival. It was a sunny day and we arrived around 10. Parking was tough and I stuck our VW Beetle on the edge of a Little League field. Thousands of hippies and young people were thronging to Festival Field. Our tickets cost $3.50.

Dave Brubeck opened the afternoon with his oratorio LIGHT IN THE WILDERNESS.

Around 2pm Nipsy Russell warmed up the crowd for James Brown

Everyone groaned, as the emcee introduced him.

We had only seen him on WHAT'S MY LINE.

No one was prepared for his off-color blue performance.

He told a joke about fucking bald-headed twins.

The pot-smoking audience begged for mercy.

Our ribs were stitched by paroxysms of laughter.

After an hour Nipsy gave up the stage for the Godfather of Soul.

Hippies gave up their arm waving and danced to the black soul of the JBs.

James Brown ended his two-hour performance with PLEASE PLEASE ME.

There was a small intermission and then the evening began the Latin bop of Willie Bobo followed by the Herbie Hancock Quartet. BB King rocked the night with his guitar Lucille and Johnny Winter joined him for a duet of scorching guitars. Buddy Rich's Orchestra warmed up the crowd for the final act.

Led Zeppelin.

They took their time taking the stage.

Jimmy Page was sick.

Rumors crisscrossed through the audience.

The show was to be cancelled.

After an hour the band hit the stage.

Jimmy Page later said, "You donít blow a date like this one. Not after all that. The Newport Jazz Festival was far too important to us to just cancel out and Iím very upset at the whole thing. Wein should never have announced one of us was ill.Ē

They blew us away.

Here's Zeppelin tuning.

And what about HOW MANY MORE TIMES

We left during this song.

My brother wanted to beat the traffic.

We heard the bass line miles away.

I hear it now too.

But I still laugh at Nipsy Russell's joke about bald-headed twins.

And I can't remember it at all.



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